OTTAWA – In September, The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) awarded the Maine SFI Implementation Committee (SIC) its fourth SFI Implementation Committee Achievement Award. This award, announced at the SFI Annual Conference, recognizes the exceptional work of the grassroots network of 34 SFI Implementation Committees across the U.S. and Canada. Groups ranging from Habitat for Humanity and Boy Scouts to universities and Ducks Unlimited Canada work with SFI implementation committees. Maine’s SIC has won the award four times (2000, 2009, 2014 and 2017), tying it with Minnesota’s SIC.
“Education and outreach have long been a strength of the Maine SFI Implementation Committee. Every year we hold multiple events and workshops that involve hundreds of people and benefit our communities. Having these efforts recognized with an SFI award is hugely gratifying,” said Pat Sirois, the Maine SFI Coordinator. “This award really belongs to the network of countless people who care about Maine’s forests. We all share the benefits of the healthy, productive forests that are such a significant part of the quality of life in our state.”
The Maine committee was selected based on education outreach efforts focused on water quality, a community partnership with Make-A-Wish Maine, which grants the wishes of children diagnosed with life- threatening illnesses, and the growth of the SFI Program.
“The Maine committee exemplifies SFI’s connection with environmental education, community engagement, and outdoor recreation for all,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.
Education outreach highlights from 2017 included an expanded flume table program. The flume tables are sandboxes about the size and height of a kitchen table. They started out as a teaching aid to demonstrate natural stream functions. They have evolved into an effective SFI outreach tool to raise awareness of sustainable forest management, and best management practices for water quality.
The tables are used during Project Learning Tree (PLT) workshops. PLT is an award-winning environmental education program that uses trees and forests as windows on the world to increase youth understanding of the environment and actions they can take to conserve it. PLT became an SFI program in July and this new relationship will strengthen SFI’s growing youth education efforts.
Support for Make-A-Wish Maine brightened the lives of two boys (watch the video). For 13-year old Kyan MacDonald, a cabin delivered to his home is a dream come true. “Kyan’s Kabin,” complete with two lofts, built-in storage and windows letting in plenty of light, was unveiled as a surprise on August 9. Kyan was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and is now in remission.
On July 20, four-year-old Derek Wilson got his own, one-of-a-kind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-themed playhouse. The main part of the playhouse is a two-floor block and it includes custom-made doors feature Derek’s name. Derek was diagnosed with leukemia almost three years ago and remains in treatment.
Supporting Make-A-Wish Maine is a powerful example of SFI’s innovative approach to community engagement, which focuses on working with a diverse group of partners. Both projects were made with donated materials certified to SFI from SFI Program Participants. Advantech subflooring came from Huber Engineered Woods. J.D. Irving provided spruce dimensional lumber. Laminated strand lumber came from Louisiana-Pacific. Weyerhauser supplied pressure treated lumber. The Seven Islands land
company donated maple flooring.
The Maine committee continued to grow in 2017. Conservation Forestry joined SFI with its 359,000 acres managed by Huber Resources. Prentiss and Carlisle also brought their 748,000 acres into the SFI Program.
“The Maine committee’s focus on environmental education, community engagement, and outdoor recreation is part of a long tradition of supporting SFI’s larger strategic goals and providing leadership for other SFI committees,” said Gordy Mouw, SFI’s Director of Program Participant Relations.